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A recent survey conducted by staffing firm Adecco Group has unveiled a concerning trend in the corporate world: a significant number of executives are anticipating workforce reductions within the next five years due to the increasing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI).

According to the survey, a staggering 41% of executives at large companies worldwide are expecting to decrease their workforce as a result of AI implementation. This revelation comes amidst the rapid advancement and widespread adoption of generative AI technology, capable of creating realistic text, images, and videos. While some view AI as a tool to streamline processes and eliminate repetitive tasks, others fear its potential to render entire job roles obsolete.

Denis Machuel, CEO of Adecco Group, emphasized the dual nature of AI’s impact on employment. “AI can be a job killer, and it can also be a job creator,” Machuel stated. He noted that while there is a historical precedent of digital technologies creating new job opportunities, the disruptive nature of AI poses significant challenges.

The survey encompassed executives from 18 industries across nine countries, representing both white-collar and blue-collar sectors. Interestingly, the findings diverge from a previous World Economic Forum poll, where half of the companies believed AI would lead to job creation rather than elimination.

Recent layoffs in the tech industry further underscore these concerns. Companies such as Google and Microsoft have shifted their focus towards AI-driven technologies like ChatGPT and Gemini, resulting in workforce reductions. Even non-tech firms like Dropbox and Duolingo have cited AI adoption as a contributing factor to downsizing efforts.

Economists at Goldman Sachs have previously warned that the widespread adoption of generative AI could potentially impact up to 300 million jobs globally, particularly affecting white-collar workers. The results of the Adecco survey suggest that this prediction may materialize within the next five years, highlighting the urgent need for proactive measures to address the evolving landscape of employment in the age of AI.

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